The Inherent Unreliability of the ADHD Label

I imagine that everybody on this side of the issue knows by now that the eminent psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, Chief Psychiatrist at Columbia, and past President of the APA, called Robert Whitaker “a menace to society.”

This outburst of petulance – the latest in a string of similar deprecations – occurred on April 26, 2015 during an interview with Michael Enright on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio’s “The Sunday Edition.”  The grounds for Dr. Lieberman’s vituperation were that Robert had dared to challenge some of psychiatry’s most sacred tenets!

In the subsequent discussion, it was noteworthy that nothing emerged that would justify characterizing Robert as a menace to society, and the general consensus seemed to be that the eminent doctor was just having one of his little rants.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

But in all the furor, it was largely ignored that, in the same interview, Dr. Lieberman had said something else, which in my view warrants additional discussion.  He was conceding the general point that sometimes people are given prescriptions for psychiatric drugs needlessly.  This is at about minute 25:35 on the recording.  Michael Enright asks:  “you could be over narcotizing?”, and Dr. Lieberman replies:

“Absolutely.  I had an experience with my own son.  I have two sons.  My older son was going to nursery school, and they said he’s not paying attention and were concerned.  ‘You should have him tested.’  We had him tested.  The neuropsychologist said, ‘Well there’s some kind of, you know, information processing problems, you should see a pediatric psychiatrist.’  I said, “Well, I am a psychiatrist, but I’ll take him to see a pediatric psychiatrist.’  We took him to see a pediatric psychiatrist, spent twenty minutes with him, and he started, you know, writing a prescription for Ritalin.  I said, ‘Why?’ and he said ‘Well, he’s got ADHD.’   I said, ‘I don’t think so.’

So, long story short, he ended up graduating from University of Pennsylvania, law school at Columbia, he’s in a top law firm.  So, yes, it happens, and part of that is social pressure.”

I could not find a transcript of the interview, so I made the above transcript myself, and I have checked it several times for accuracy.  In reading the passage, five points come to mind.

Firstly, the “diagnosis” was made in twenty minutes.  This is not actually surprising.  In my experience it is pretty much the norm.  But for years, Dr. Lieberman has been extolling the professionalism and thoroughness of psychiatry, but nevertheless, dropped this admission into the interview without comment or criticism.

Secondly, Dr. Lieberman, as an eminent psychiatrist, had no difficulty resisting the pressure to accept the prescription.  For many families, this is not the case.  Indeed, during my career, I worked with a number of parents who had been threatened with child custody suits if they didn’t get their child examined by a psychiatrist and “on Ritalin”.

Similar pressures exist with children in foster care.  If the child displays any kind of problem behavior, including distractibility/over-activity, a psychiatric consultation is mandated, a prescription is written, and there is no one to speak up for the child, or to challenge what is being done.

Thirdly, I think it’s noteworthy that Dr. Lieberman rejected the prescription.  If ADHD is an illness, and a licensed pediatric psychiatrist diagnosed this illness, and the same licensed pediatric psychiatrist wrote a prescription, shouldn’t Dr. Lieberman have played safe and given his child the pills?  After all, they’re safe and efficacious!  Surely it would have been wiser to play safe rather than risk depriving the child of needed medication.  Or could it be that Dr. Lieberman’s faith in the efficacy and safety of these products stopped short of actually giving them to his own child?

Is Dr. Lieberman aware that many parents who refuse psychiatric “medication” in this way are reported to Social Services for neglecting the child’s medical needs?

Fourthly, Dr. Lieberman’s son was “diagnosed with ADHD” by a pediatric psychiatrist while in pre-school, but didn’t take the pills.  Nevertheless, he graduated from Columbia law school and is now an attorney at a “top law firm”.  That’s food for thought.

Fifthly, and most importantly, Dr. Lieberman’s disagreement with the pediatric psychiatrist highlights one of the major weaknesses in the psychiatric system:  its intrinsic unreliability and subjectivity.

Let’s take a look at what Dr. Lieberman and the other psychiatrist were disputing.  Obviously I don’t know when this interaction occurred, but if we put it around 1990, then DSM-III-R  would have been in force.  Here are the criteria for ADHD from that manual (p 52):

A.  A disturbance of at least six months during which at least eight of the following are present:

(1)  often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat (in adolescents, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
(2)  has difficulty remaining seated when required to do so
(3)  is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
(4)  has difficulty awaiting turn in games or group situations
(5)  often blurts out answers to questions before they have been completed
(6)  has difficulty following through on instructions from others (not due to oppositional behavior or failure of comprehension), e.g., fails to finish chores
(7)  has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
(8)  often shifts from one uncompleted activity to another
(9)  has difficulty playing quietly
(10)  often talks excessively
(11)  often interrupts or intrudes on others, e.g., butts into other children’s games
(12)  often does not seem to listen to what is being said to him or her
(13)  often loses things necessary for tasks or activities at school or at home (e.g., toys, pencils, books, assignments)
(14)  often engages in physically dangerous activities without considering possible consequences (not for the purpose of thrill-seeking), e.g., runs into street without looking 

Note:  The above items are listed in descending order of discriminating power based on data from a national field trial of the DSM-III-R criteria for Disruptive Behavior Disorders

B.  Onset before the age of seven.

C.  Does not meet the criteria for a Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

Note:  Consider a criterion met only if the behavior is considerably more frequent than that of most people of the same mental age.

My Random House Webster’s College Dictionary gives the following meaning for the word criterion:  “a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something.”

Even a cursory glance at the APA’s criteria shows that they are entirely unsatisfactory for this purpose.

Take the first item from the list:  “often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat (in adolescents, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)”  There are several factors that prevent this item from serving as a criterion in the above sense of the term.

Firstly, children’s behavior (and indeed adults’ behavior) varies from time to time and from place to place.  A child might, for instance, be fidgeting in one classroom and not in another; or only in the period immediately preceding lunch.  Where and when should the rating be made?

Secondly, the word “often”, which occurs also in seven other items, is not operationally defined and will inevitably mean different things to different people.  An “old-fashioned” person who believes that children should sit still and pay attention, might consider one or two squirmings excessive; while a more liberal teacher might set the bar a good deal  higher.

And how in the world can anyone reliably assess an adolescent’s “subjective feelings of restlessness”?

Similar observations can be made about all the items.

The point here is:  what were Dr. Lieberman and the pediatric psychiatrist disagreeing about, and how could such a disagreement be resolved?  The other psychiatrist might have said:  “your son is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli”;  or:  “your son often talks excessively”.  Dr. Lieberman could reply:  “no he isn’t”; “no he doesn’t”.  And that’s it.  There is no way to objectively resolve such a dispute.  There is no fact or observation to which one or other of the parties could point, that would clinch the matter. And that’s a fundamental problem, because ultimately all psychiatric “diagnosis” is tainted by this kind of subjectivity.  In the final analysis, a person “has a mental illness” because a psychiatrist says so!

In the situation described by Dr. Lieberman, apparently his view prevailed, and from his statements in the radio broadcast, it is clear that he believes his view was correct.  But this is a meaningless position, because the only criteria that exist to resolve the disagreement are inherently unusable for this purpose.  Nor is DSM-5 any better.  This latest edition of the manual contains 13 of DSM-III-R’s 14 “criteria” (with some minor verbal changes), and some additional items which are no less vague.

What Dr. Lieberman apparently took from his interaction with the pediatric psychiatrist  is that sometimes pills are over-used.  But the message he should have taken was that what psychiatrists call ADHD is nothing more than a loose collection of vaguely-defined behaviors, whose purpose is to foster psychiatry’s self-serving hoax that these behaviors constitute an illness, which requires to be “treated” with stimulant drugs.

  • M.

    Right on. And frankly, I suspect that in practice the diagnostic standards are more lax and subjective than even the DSM criteria. When I was taken to a psych as a kid (I was sad most of the time because I was lonely and hated school), one of the first diagnoses she gave me was for ADHD. I was too well behaved for the quack to pin me with the standard criteria, but I’d often get absorbed in whatever I was doing to the exclusion of everything else, so she said I exhibited the ADHD symptom of “hyperfocus”.

    Hyperfocus, how convenient! When both a symptom and its opposite can be used for a diagnosis, it becomes seemingly impossible to refute. Must be good for the “doctor’s” pocketbook…

  • all too easy

    Right on. That’s the only reason they invented the diagnosis. It is a money making enterprise. Doctors love to poison and kill children for a buck. It is actually kind of fun to murder. Doctors generally enter the profession to kill.

    Yea. Hyperfocus. What a trip. They thought of everything. What about normal focus?

    I’m glad they nailed your problem. ADHD is generally a proper diagnosis for a child with sadness and loneliness who spends hour upon hour absorbed in whatever she’s doing.

    Great try. Real tough to see through this lying fraud. Get a life.

  • M.

    Hello again! I have to say, it’s rather amusing to be told to “get a life,” by a site’s resident troll. 😛 Ah, if only all of psychiatry’s defenders were so ridiculous. Later!

  • Phil_Hickey

    M,

    Thanks for coming in. A deficit of attention that manifests itself by over-attending? Psychiatrists have a long tradition of not feeling overly constrained by inconvenient facts.

  • Rob Bishop

    Amen! I saw a TV documentary promoting ADHD that claimed people with ADHD
    absolutely DO have the ability to focus, but,“they focus on the wrong things”. Now that’s wacky!

  • all too easy

    Well, that proves it. ADHD is a fraud. It doesn’t exist. Lieberman refused the drugs and he wouldn’t have if he actually believed the LIE.

    Phil, offer the evidence that parents are reported for refusing medical advice and not drugging their children.

    Tell us again how much you admire Dr. Saul. Go right ahead.

    Phil promotes abandoning children who meet the conditions for the ADHD diagnosis. He rather they be humiliated, tormented, broken, crushed, than to provide safe, effective medication to help them to focus. You are a fraud, a sadist, a fool and a pathetic coward

  • Sweet63

    Whenever I see a list of descriptions, it makes me think of all the things parents were supposed to train a child to not do, from a young age. And it always seems like the ADHD child’s parents are kinda laid back, or one is gone, or they’re older and the kid is youngest of several and falling through the discipline cracks.

  • all too easy

    What a jerk.

  • Good article Phil. As you said, ADHD is totally lacking in reliability and validity and the concept of ADHD as an illness should be abolished. Also, you know you have written something good when the resident troll comes out to denounce it right away! Well done for ignoring the poor thing. 🙂

  • all too easy

    ADHD is a damnable disorder. Check out what Dr. Saul says, Phil. Some doctor you are. Having never met me, you state as fact that I don’t have something which destroyed my life for years. What a guy.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Sweet63,

    I agree. I think a great many parents nowadays simply have no idea how much time, energy, and devotion it takes to train children in these areas. And psychiatry enables this by conveniently inventing a brain disease!

  • Rob Bishop

    The skill of self discipline is usually not taught to children. It takes self discipline to not be seduced by the seductive lure of anxiety, depression, rage, and addiction.

  • all too easy

    Why do adults with tremendous discipline fall prey to the in inability to concentrate consistently?

  • It hasn’t dawned on you yet… he doesn’t care about your opinion.

  • Len

    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children (Mayo Clinic) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adhd/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20023647

  • Len

    Mr. Hickey….Many physical and mental illnesses are not easy to diagnose or treat. There are not many cures if any but there are plenty of treatment strategies. There are now several non stimulant strategies to treat ADD. Non medication strategies include intense aerobic exercise,good sleep and nutrition. ADD life coaches are also available to help.IEP or 504 plans in education setting also help tremendously. pretending that diagnosis does not exist is not helpful It is called stigma and it is a main barrier to recovery for those who suffer.

  • Actually, most supposed disorders in the DSM, including ADHD, have never been proven to be reliable or valid conditions. The “symptoms” of most supposed mental illnesses – experiences which are very real, although the rigid illness categories supposed behind them are invalid – are primarily caused by poor parenting, neglect, abuse, trauma, and other social disadvantages. An article on this is here –

    http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/08/trauma-psychosis-dissociation/

    A further primer on these issues is here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5caitdQA6HY

    If you watch this video, you can see that Defeat Depression and Beyond Blue, two large-scale campaigns intended to reduce stigma and promote the acknowledgement of supposed mental illnesses, failed miserably to change public attitudes or improve outcomes. This failure suggests that treating the symptoms of what are really serious life / developmental-relational problems as “brain diseases” is ineffective, or may even produce the opposite of its intended effect, i.e. more stigma.

    In my opinion, the biggest barrier to recovery for those who suffer is lying to them about the validity and reliability of so-called mental illnesses, and communicating to them the myth that their real problems are caused by misfiring brain chemicals which require medication.

  • Len

    This is your opinion. Many would disagree with you including sites such as Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic. For people to believe that mental illness does not exist is the reason stigma continues. Mad Against America is a joke riddled with biased opinions written by an retired psychologist who is obviuosly way out of the mainstream.

  • Rob Bishop

    We all suffer with many mental challenges. There’s a huge community of scientists who reject the idea that anxiety, depression, addiction, obesity, and violent rage are biological defects. Our culture has fully embraced the Mental Illness Theory of Suffering, and it’s defended like religion and politics. We all suffer, but not because our minds are malfunctioning. Human self-hatred, a driving force in our minds, supports the idea we’re screwed up. It takes effort to undo what we’ve all been taught… that we need drugs to feel normal.

  • Rob Bishop

    I support the core of your perspective, but would like offer an idea for consideration and discussion. Parenting deficiencies (neglect, abuse) can have a significant impact on children and their downstream suffering in adulthood, but I believe much misery, such as chronic repetitive negative thinking (the foundation of depression and anxiety) is not due to upbringing issues. Many of the default modes of the mind create disturbance, resistance, and restlessness, and these cognitive habits and programs are not related to any social events.

  • Len, appealing to some supposed authority is not an argument…. obviously you are unable to directly address any of my critiques above, which is revealing. I challenge you again to address them, but I think the other commenters on here are going to see that your only choice is to avoid or deny, as you have already done.

    As for Mad In America, get your facts straight – it was founded by an investigative journalist. It features articles by many different psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health workers covering a range of viewpoints.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Edward,

    I agree!

  • all too easy

    I demand proof that the brain thinks thoughts. I insist on seeing a thought be born, grow and become a full fledged idea, through scientific testing and image enhancement. Science has never proven thoughts are real. Not one scientific test shows a thought, at least not inside the skulls of a single psychiatry hater.

  • Hi Rob, thanks for your thought. I don’t know if this is correct or not. It’s unclear to me what is meant by “default modes of the mind.” I think most things have causes, so I wonder what would lead to these default modes being gotten into.

  • Len

    So Edward your sites are reputable blogs and biased articles on this so called “Mad in America’…Many of the diagnoses listed in the DSM have been around for decades and there is plenty of research to back them.I could present research to back up my claims but you would never believe any of them because you are just a blind biased fool.

  • Len

    So fuck you Edward…..

  • Len

    Here you go idiot…
    ADHD gene found http://sciencenordic.com/adhd-gene-found

  • Len

    Another for the idiot….
    Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)….https://bbrfoundation.org/adhd

  • Len

    Idiot….
    Slow to mature, quick to distract: ADHD brain study finds slower development of key connections…http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140915153607.htm

  • Len
  • Len

    Advances in understanding and treating ADHD http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/9/72

  • Len

    The neurobiological basis of ADHD http://www.ijponline.net/content/36/1/79

  • Len

    Long-Term Stimulant Treatment Affects Brain Dopamine Transporter Level in Patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0063023

  • Len
  • Len,
    I take your insults as compliments, since it means you have to resort to name-calling rather than directly addressing my points. The need for these insults on your part allows other commenters to see how weak your position really is. I will not stoop to personal insults as you did; rather, I will respond with my arguments against the articles you cited:

    First of all, regarding “many of the diagnoses listed in the DSM have been around for decades” – that is no evidence of anything. Many things were falsely believed for decades. Thomas Insel and David Kupfer (heads of DSM and NIMH) have recently admitted how weak the DSM approach to diagnosis truly is, as you are surely aware. Kupfer admitted that reliable biomarkers for DSM labels remain “disappointingly distant”, and Insel moved to have NIMH “reorient” its research away from the unevidenced DSM categories.

    Regarding “ADHD Gene Found”; this related to a gene found in mice the removal of which seemed to cause problems with attention in the mice. This cannot possibly be taken as evidence of anything in humans, given that supposed ADHD in humans remains an unevidenced concept.

    Regarding the Brain Research Foundation, it just says that ADHD exists and is common, but gives no evidence that it is a reliable or valid illness. I can say that a given disorder causes people to have problems with X behavior, but that doesn’t make it so.

    Regarding Slow to Mature, Quick to Distract… the fact that some group of kids have more attention problems than another group doesn’t mean that ADHD exists. It means those kids have more attention problems than the other kids 🙂 That could be for any number of reasons, including increased family stress or poorer average parenting in the supposed ADHD group.

    Regarding Advances in Understanding… “ADHD may actually represent the extreme end of a normal continuum for the traits of attention, inhibition and the regulation of motor activity” – This article even admits that ADHD may not be a categorical disorder. It again gives no strong evidence for ADHD as existing as a discrete illness.

    Regarding the neurobiological basis of ADHD – It says, “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is not a single pathophysiological entity and appears to have a complex etiology.” So again they are admitting that it is at best a syndrome and not an illness. Look up the difference. Regarding neurobiological differences, the fact that the brains of some attention-troubled children look different than others is entirely understandable and expectable. They may have more environmental stresses of various kinds compared to “normals”, and perhaps be constitutionally a bit more vulnerable to certain stresses. That doesn’t prove that a reliable illness called ADHD exists, nor that brain chemistry nor genes cause something called ADHD.

    Regarding ADHD Today, Gone Tomorrow, I’m not sure why you cited this as it does not support your ideas. It suggests that attention problems are fully curable / removable – thus do not constitute a lifelong illness – and it admits that genetic/biological causes for supposed ADHD remain unknown and are “terra nova”.

    Fellow commenters, we will likely now see the following from Len – avoidance/disappearance due to not having any adequate response to these points; or further namecalling/personal insults which bear no relation to the actual points under discussion.

  • Len

    Ignorant to science…what a true fool you are…you probably do not believe in climate change either.

  • Athena Koop

    *ding ding ding ding*
    You called that one correctly, Edward. Len resorts to more name-calling because he has no argument.

  • Wrong again, Len. Of course climate change is real. Manmade global warming is also almost certainly real.

    Ironically the example you gave, global warming, is much more of a “real” scientific phenomenin than nonillnesses like pseudo-ADHD will ever be. There are real scientifically validated brain illnesses like dementia and Hungtington’s, but ADHD is not one of them, as the articles you yourself posted ironically admitted.

    Believe it or not, I was a high school valedictorian and graduated from an Ivy League college.

    Fellow commenters, we will likely now see the following from Len – avoidance/disappearance due to not having any adequate response to the above points; or further namecalling/personal insults which bear no relation to the actual points under discussion.

  • Rob Bishop

    Anxiety is an example of a default program we’re born with. Anxiety (fear) is a highly adaptive trait that’s contributed to the survival of our species.

  • Len
  • Len
  • Len

    Nonpharmacological ADHD Treatments for Youths: How to Implement Evidence-Based Practice Recommendations – See more at: http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/adhd/nonpharmacological-adhd-treatments-youths-how-implement-evidence-based-practice-recommendations/page/0/1#sthash.v4Bg552p.dpuf

  • Ok, I’ll respond to these.

    “Children carefully evaluated for ADHD”… that’s nice! Talking to parents and families more is always good. However, it has nothing to do with ADHD being a valid or reliable illness. These pseudodiagnoses are made by seeing that a child is having problems with concentration or attention at some point in time, and then presuming the existence of a brain-based illness causing these behaviors. There’s no biomarkers involved…. it’s just fabrication on the part of these psychiatrists. The distress and symptoms are very real, but that doesn’t mean a brain illness is causing them.

    “Meds for ADHD don’t cause Tics”… what a relief! So what?

    “Non Pharmacological ADHD Treatment”… Ok, so this article is saying that psychotherapy, i.e. a positive human-to-human relationships can help children with attention and focusing problems. That makes sense, but it doesn’t mean a brain illness called ADHD exists. As for medication, yes tranquilizing meds can dull down distractible kids and make them more docile. That again doesn’t have any connection with ADHD being reliable nor with brain chemistry causing an illness caused ADHD.

    The problem with all of these articles is that they assume their conclusion, i.e. that a reliable form of ADHD exists and is caused by brain chemistry. But these things have never been proven. The logic of these articles goes like this, “How we know this child has ADHD?”… “Because they have attention and focusing problems etc.” and then “Why does this child have attention and focusing problems?”…. “Because they have ADHD”. Even young children with attention problems can see the flaws in this logic 🙂

  • Please only do that if you’re an attractive young woman. Thanks.

  • Len

    Once an idiot always an idiot fool….Proof that education can make one even more blind and stupid.

  • Len
  • Len

    The Developing Brain: Keep On Track

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9E_bkLjHD4

  • Thanks for your comment Len. Hopefully you treat your poor “mentally ill” child better than anonymous internet commenters.

    Also, thanks for again proving that people who run out of arguments and can’t think for themselves will resort to insults and appeals to authority. I continue this conversation because it helps other commenters to see that there’s nothing substantial behind your facade of believing in brain-based mental illnesses. And you’re entertaining.

  • Len, come back if you have a real argument to make. I’ve already laid out my points. You’ve clearly shown that you cannot think for yourself and have to appeal to the authority of other “experts” to do your thinking for you. Thanks for revealing yourself in this way.

  • Len

    No I only treat people the way they deserve to be treated….you started all this because of your pompous know it all attitude. Well let me tell you something. You know nothing about ADD or any mental health issue for the matter. I have 35 years of experience working as a mental health professional and I will not allow people like you are the so called organization like “Mad in America” continue to stigmatize patients and their families who suffer from serious illnesses which you want to minimize or say does not exist.I will continue to educate you and maybe you will realize someday that you are doing more harm than good.

  • Rob Bishop

    I was once punished by a mod on science-based Facebook forum (banned for two days) for promoting there’s no evidence that depression is caused by chemical imbalance. People became furious with me and posted a flood of “scientific research” linking depression to biological defects. I was called grossly irresponsible. Some said it was possible depressed people might commit suicide because I questioned the nature of their “illness”. It’s a weird debate…one person says, “I’m sick” and the other person says, “You’re normal.”

  • and you can be sure that Mr Lieberman wouldn’t have his kids on psychiatric drugs like anti-psychotics or SSRI’s either… His little slip up in that story of his about the ADHD diagnosis being pushed in his kid speaks volumes about the holes in his own profession… charlatans don’t use their own potions…

  • how can a stimulant make them ‘focus’?.. I don’t get your point…

  • The fact that you are a mental health professional is truly scary. I hate to think what you’d be like if faced with someone you thought was a difficult “borderline” client. Someone who comes online and starts insulting people they don’t know doesn’t seem like a good candidate to be an emphatic therapist, or nurse, or whatever you claim to be. Get a hold of yourself.

    And I don’t minimize anyone’s experience – hallucinations, delusions, depression, attention problems, fear, etc. are very real and can be disabling. But that doesn’t mean they’re caused by brain chemistry or that they are valid reliable illnesses.

    In fact, I’ve helped a lot of people who have been labeled borderline to get good psychotherapy and to become more hopeful about themselves and their future.

    A lot of this comes down to semantics. I think of developmental emotional problems in the way that Kernberg, Masterson, Kohut, etc. think about it psychodynamically. People need love and support, and if they don’t get it sufficiently, or experience neglect/trauma, they develop different degrees of problems in emotion-regulation, functioning autonomously, and having good relationships. These are the problems that get concretized into the labels like schizophrenic, borderline, depressed, etc. But those experiences are not in fact illnesses, nor caused by brain chemistry. Rather they’re caused by the individual’s experience in relationships and with the outside world, which of course is reflected in differing brain chemistry.

  • Evie S.

    An astute listener noticed the same irony, or would that be hypocrisy, or perhaps malpractice on a grand scale. (It’s the fourth comment here: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thesundayedition/men-will-be-boys-the-refugee-problem-christiana-pflug-ve-day-1.3055705/listener-mail-dr-jeffrey-lieberman-1.3057807)

    In an interview with Esquire (how manly) the not-so-good doctor and not-so-humble-author said this:

    “http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a32858/drugging-of-the-american-boy-0414/
    Lieberman, the APA president, says most doctors try to get it right. “Are there pressures that are packed on clinicians that make them less than optimally rigorous [in making a diagnosis]?

    Unfortunately, there are,” he says. “But I mean, you have our health-care financing system that’s quite dysfunctional, and it’s created a situation where doctors have to spend a certain amount of time with bureaucratic, administrative paperwork and regulatory-compliance stuff….

    We also have a culture where there’s pressure, both from schools as well as from parents, to do something—to alleviate the problem and enhance the performance of the child….

    That’s no excuse, and doctors shouldn’t succumb to that. But, you know, doctors are human….

    We’d like everybody to be these heroic figures who fulfill the virtues of the Hippocratic oath. I think most doctors aspire to try to do that. But human limitations being what they are…caveat emptor.”

  • Bye bye, Len! This sad believer in brain diseases finally tucked tail and ran, without mounting so much as one logical argument against my points. When calling me an idiot didn’t work, the coward revealed her true colors and slithered away.

  • Rob Bishop

    We cause our own suffering with the notion we have “problems”. A “problem” is an aspect of reality we want and demand to be different. It’s another example of how we disturb ourselves with irrational thinking habits. Rejecting and resisting how life is fuels our misery. We’re so attached to our “problems” we quake in our boots at the suggestion of letting them go. Heck, we brag to each other about our many “problems”!

  • all too easy

    Make them? I have no clue. To help them, enable them, empower them, equip them, give them, provide them, allow, make possible, permit, them to focus, yes indeed. How? Ask Phil. He won’t answer me, but he says they do. We’re talking about life and death, here folks. FOOLS. My life compared to my death. I know first hand what this disorder is and what it can do.

    Wise guy. Make them. Nice try. JERK.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Evie,

    Thanks for this quote – which is classic Dr. Lieberman. It’s called “flip the script”, and is well known to scammers, con artists, and law-breakers generally. Essentially: whenever one is busted for doing something wrong – flip the script; make it seem like the fault lies elsewhere. In the Lieberman quote, the “fault” lies with regulators (mean old nasties), schools, and parents. And the psychiatrists, of course, are blameless stalwarts, struggling valiantly but vainly against these antagonist forces. Yeah, right!

  • all too easy

    Oh, you mean like Bill Clinton, the one who sexually assaulted girls and women, that rapist, big Billy Blythe, who should be in prison? Absolutely! He blamed that trailer trash Paula Jones, among others, didn’t he? Sure did. She ain’t trash any more. Not after he paid her $750,000 of our money.

  • all too easy

    That these children are having problems concentrating at some point in time…

    The idiots who post here denying ADHD is a real, profound, disabling disorder must themselves be afflicted with it. They don’t remember what they just read.

    I should be paid for informing the public about ADHD and for correcting the slop anti-ADHD fanatics/lunatics throw around

  • all too easy

    ADHD is defined as a deficit in the continuum of sustaining attention that interferes severely with a person’s life. It is not an inability to pay attention, ever. We can pay attention appropriately occasionally. Depending on the individual, the capacity to hyperfocus is present under certain circumstances.

    If you are going to try to deny an extraordinarily disabling disorder, use precise, intelligent factual information.

  • all too easy

    You think? Let’s see proof you are correct.

  • all too easy

    Only Phil could think of something this ridiculous to dismiss ADHD. “If a parent coaches a young child to emit the items on the APA’s checklist, and the child emits these behaviors on a fairly regular basis — then the child has ADHD. All of the criteria for ADHD are behaviors.” (INCORRECT) You are kidding. That is a deliberate misrepresentation of the nature of this dreaded disorder. You cannot consistently feign paying attention. Why? It is very simple. To fake it, one must pay attention to what she’s doing; she must always be aware that she is putting on a show and must constantly self-monitor if she hopes to be convincing, in order to perform that role well.

    Unable to focus one’s attention consistently, to the detriment and harm of an individual, short term and long term, has nothing to do with behavior. Deliberately choosing to ignore information consistently that results in harm to a person’s quality of life is not a related issue. Just as the inability to control one’s lazy eye is not a (mis)behavior, choosing not to look at data deliberately, resulting in personal injury is not the same thing, at all.

    For the doubting conspirators, hang loose, brethren. Rest assured that at some point in the not too distant future, in fact, very soon I’m betting, science will produce the means to observe the conscious brain wandering uncontrollably in the properly diagnosed individual with ADHD. Just as surely as an x-ray reveals bones, this type of imaging will show unmistakably that our minds (of the ADHDers) don’t always do what we tell them to do. You know why this is going to happen? First, because it is the truth. It is our reality. What those of you who genuinely care about the suffering of others will find on that day is terrible regret and sorrow. Unfortunately, you who so easily and gladly denounce us will discover after it’s too late, a measure of the unnecessary damage you personally inflicted on innocent, hurting, human beings. Second, science marches on. Nothing will prevent science from observing eventually the most intangible, minute brain functions.

    All along you have chosen not to believe us. That is the most damning thing of all. You say we are not who we say we are. You call us phonies, less than honest, people lacking integrity and the intellectual capacity to be equals.

  • doppelganger

    You’re a phony. And boring. What a horse’s rear end.

  • all too easy

    Only Phil could think of something this ridiculous to dismiss ADHD. “If a parent coaches a young child to emit the items on the APA’s checklist, and the child emits these behaviors on a fairly regular basis — then the child has ADHD. All of the criteria for ADHD are behaviors.” (INCORRECT) You are kidding. That is a deliberate misrepresentation of the nature of this dreaded disorder. You cannot consistently feign paying attention. Why? It is very simple. To fake it, one must pay attention to what she’s doing; she must always be aware that she is putting on a show and must constantly self-monitor if she hopes to be convincing, in order to perform that role well.

    Unable to focus one’s attention consistently, to the detriment and harm of an individual, short term and long term, has nothing to do with behavior. Deliberately choosing to ignore information consistently that results in harm to a person’s quality of life is not a related issue. Just as the inability to control one’s lazy eye is not a (mis)behavior, choosing not to look at data deliberately, resulting in personal injury is not the same thing, at all.

    For the doubting conspirators, hang loose, brethren. Rest assured that at some point in the not too distant future, in fact, very soon I’m betting, science will produce the means to observe the conscious brain wandering uncontrollably in the properly diagnosed individual with ADHD. Just as surely as an x-ray reveals bones, this type of imaging will show unmistakably that our minds (of the ADHDers) don’t always do what we tell them to do. You know why this is going to happen? First, because it is the truth. It is our reality. What those of you who genuinely care about the suffering of others will find on that day is terrible regret and sorrow. Unfortunately, you who so easily and gladly denounce us will discover after it’s too late, a measure of the unnecessary damage you personally inflicted on innocent, hurting, human beings. Second, science marches on. Nothing will prevent science from observing eventually the most intangible, minute brain functions.

    All along you have chosen not to believe us. That is the most damning thing of all. You say we are not who we say we are. You call us phonies, less than honest, people lacking integrity and the intellectual capacity to be equals.

    I post this comment again because the first time I tried, it ended up at the end of this thread. If it is not supposed to be up at the front, i apologize.

  • anonymous

    You know what isn’t boring? Doing lines of blow – oops I mean ADHD “medication” – legally and having your habit paid for by mommy and daddy.

  • doppelganger

    Some genius you are. What a phony.

  • all too easy

    O clodhopapuss. Where b thou? I haven’t had a good belly laugh since you went undercover, you big stud you. Please, be miserable, honey.

  • doppelganger

    He doesn’t seem to be a fan of yours, honey.
    https://disqus.com/by/bulbous1/